Rafting event raises enough to grant 7 wishes of a lifetime (531)


MEREDITH — Take 10 teams, a big raft, three nights and two days, and you've got Rafting for Wishes, which was held in Meredith Bay for the third consecutive year this past weekend, and which raises money to grant wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses.

"We raised around $70,000. We're pretty excited about that," said Julie Baron, president and CEO of Make-A-Wish New Hampshire. The total raised, once the final donations are counted, will exceed last year's count by about $20,000, and will approximate the amount raised two years ago, the first time that the event was held on Lake Winnipesaukee's Meredith Bay.

It costs an average of $10,000 in cash and in-kind donations to grant each wish, said Baron, meaning that the 2016 event, which occurred July 29, 30 and 31 in the water off of Heskey Park, will make possible at least seven wishes.

Rafting for Wishes was born five years ago when two men sat in a raft in the Merrimack River for 36 hours. The event moved to the Seacoast for the next year, and three years ago found its home in Meredith. Since its founding, the event has raised a total of $335,000.

The move to Meredith was more than just a change of location. It was also the year that the event welcomed teams of people to man their raft for a duration of 44 hours – a length of time chosen to reflect the 44 children waiting in the queue for their wish to be granted. This year, Baron said, Make-A-Wish New Hampshire has received 103 referrals.

While the event was held during the week for its first two years in Meredith, Rafting for Wishes was a weekend festivity this year, a change which Baron said was well received and drew only positive comments.

"The town of Meredith really rallied around us this year," said Baron. The town supplied its inflatable projector screen, and played "Minions" on Friday night. Miles Marine helped to secure the raft and to shuttle rafters to and from shore. Tilton Police and their Explorers helped during the overnight periods, and many volunteers helped in other various capacities. Atlas Fireworks put on a show for free, and families whose children would be benefiting, or had benefited, were on scene to remind rafters what the effort was all about.

On Monday, Baron and others were comparing notes to discuss ways to improve the event for next year. She would like to find ways to make the event more fun, engage the team members earlier in the year and grow the event.

"Anyone that wants to help us recruit team, that's what we could really use," she said. For more information, visit www.raftingforwishes.org.

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Erica Auciello Murphy, Wish Buddy Emily Ledger and Sandi Shepardson from the Common Man office in Ashland are about to set sail at Rafting for Wishes. (Courtesy photo)

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Rafting for Wishes are Jason Perry, 44-hour Survivors; Cassie Infante Target, Carly Cullen Target, Mackenzie and Bobby Welch of the Common Man; Donna and David Parker, Tony Dumas and Conner Cyrus, 44-hour Survivors; Whitney Deturk of T-Bones/Cactus Jacks; "Wish Kid" Padraic Moley; and Sandy Shepardson of The Common Man Saturday afternoon in Meredith Bay. (Karen Bobotas/for the Laconia Daily Sun)

Sailboat fulfills dream of 7-year-old with cancer


GILFORD — Carter Mock, a 7-year-old from Amherst whose parents sold their sailboat last year shortly after he was diagnosed with cancer, received the gift he has been dreaming about Sunday afternoon at Fay's Boat Yard when Make-A-Wish New Hampshire presented him with the 32-foot-long sailboat "Go Cart."
Carter, who has been diagnosed with fibroblastic osteosarcoma, has undergone surgery in which his left leg was removed below his knee and his ankle reattached so that serves as the knee for his prosthetic leg. He uses a cane to help him while he walks and recently completed a chemotherapy session at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.
An adventurer at heart, he loves to swim and snorkel, and has played baseball and hockey.
A large crowd of people from Fay's Boat Yard and Make-A-Wish New Hampshire were on hand Sunday afternoon when Carter and his parents, John and Danielle Mock, pulled into he boatyard in the stretch limousine which brought them from Amherst to Gilford.
On the way north, they made stops at Carter's school in Amherst and then at Bass Pro Shop in Hooksett where Carter fed the fish, arriving at Fay's after having stopped for lunch at the Tilt'n Diner.
Carter was all smiles when he saw the sailboat after getting out of the limo. He then and walked up to the boat and went aboard with his parents, where he donned a captain's hat after having toured the boat, which has sleeping berths for six people and has a galley kitchen as well as toilet and shower.
"This is amazing," said his father, John. His mother, Danielle, said that the generosity of the people involved is overwhelming.
Jule Baron, president and CEO of Make-A-Wish NH, who is a resident of Gilford, said that when the organization found out about Carter's wish, they talked to Fay's Boat Yard, which helped find and fix up the sailboat so that it would be given to Carter.
Among those watching Sunday were Jeff Fay, owner of Fay's Boat Yard, whose workers spent many hours getting the boat ready; Al Posnak of the Winnipesaukee Sailing Association, which will provide free sailing instruction for the Mock family, and boat owners Roy and Nancy Carsen, who have owned the sailboat for nearly 30 years.
"We were looking to sell it, but when we heard that Make-A-Wish was looking for a sailboat for a family to grant the wish of a child with cancer, we knew what we should do," said Carsen.

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Carter Mock, 7, of Amherst, shown aboard the 32-foot sailboat Go-Cart which was presented to him Sunday by Make-A-Wish New Hampshire at Fay's Boat Yard in Gilford. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

Packing up - Businesses moving out of Colonial block


LACONIA — Businesses on the Colonial Theatre side of Canal Street in downtown Laconia are presently in the process of packing their belongings and moving.

Since the purchase of the Colonial Theatre by the Belknap Economic Development Council occurred, businesses on Canal Street have been looking to relocate their businesses. Those asked to relocate include U-Frame We Frame, Frates Creative Arts Center, the Silver Screen Salon, The Downtown Gym and Star Nails. Almost of these businesses have found new locations, and some have already began operating out of their new facilities.

After 20 years of business in the same place, U-Frame We Frame has moved across the street to 50 Canal St. Although Sara Rines, owner of the business, feels fortune that she was able to keep her family business on the same street, she said the time crunch to move was a bit of a challenge. After closing last week to complete the transition between stores, the shop is again open today at its new location. An open house is to be scheduled sometime in the coming weeks.

Silver Screen Salon owned by Jenn Russo will also be moving down the road through a merger with Lori Anna's Hair Affair, located at 58 Canal St. Lori Chandler, owner of Lori Anna's Hair Affair, had been looking to alter her business model for quite a few months, as she still wanted to pursue her passion for hair without being a business owner. Upon hearing of the request for Russo to move from her location, Chandler extended a proposal to Russo that would allow Silver Screen Salon to remain in business and Chandler to step down as a business owner.

After the move is complete Chandler will rent a booth at Silver Screen Salon, which will be owned and operated by Russo after Sept. 1.

"I figured that this was the best way to keep Silver Screen Salon alive, help me pursue my passion of hair without the pressure of owning the business, and also help keep the downtown area alive" said Chandler, who is excited to work alongside Russo within the coming weeks.

The Downtown Gym located at 609-611 Main St., has confirmed that they will be moving from their current location to 171 Fair St., formerly known as the home of The Citizen newspaper. The lease was officially signed last week, and plans for the move are currently under way. More information on when the gym will relocate and open at the new location is to be announced.

Larry Frates will now operate under the title of Frates Creates Art to You, which will bring art classes to the community in various locations. More information about where the art classes will be held is to be released in the coming weeks.
“It’s quite the reversal we have going, where the oldest dance studio in the area and oldest art program have become the newest,” said Larry Frates, with echos from Joan Frates stating that she has a feeling it is going to be a very exciting season for the Frates family.
Additionally, Star Nails is still in the process of confirming its new location and cannot state any solidified plans presently.


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Jenn Russo, right, and Lori Chandler have decided to pursue a business merger that will allow Silver Screen Salon to move into the former Lori Anna's Hair Affair salon at the start of September. Jasmaine Kapplain, Russo's daughter, is also pictured. (Alana Persson/Laconia Daily Sun)